Deep in the misty, vine-clad mountains along Vietnam’s border with Laos lies Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, one of the country’s most beautiful and unspoilt regions. In 2003 the area was a designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its biodiversity and geological significance. As a tourist destination the park is most celebrated for the enormous cave complexes which riddle its towering peaks, including Son Doong, reputedly the largest cave in the world. The most spectacular of the caves, however, was only discovered in 2005. After extensive exploration by a team of British experts and unusually sensitive and thoughtful development it was opened to the public in 2010. Only a small proportion of the 31km of the Paradise Cave is accessible, but the remarkable stalactite and stalagmite formations and awe-inspiring cathedral-like halls make this a destination that is well worth the journey.
A part of the giant Ke Bang Mount, Phong Nha Cavern belongs to Bo Trach District in Quang Binh Province
A part of the giant Ke Bang Mount, Phong Nha Cavern belongs to Bo Trach District in Quang Binh Province. It is also regarded as “Troc Cavern” or “Cave Pagoda”. Only 60km away fromDong Hoi City, this number one cavern in Vietnam has become an increasingly famous attraction in recent years.
Phong Nha Cavern has many sections, with a total length of up to 20km, but people have only been able to explore the longest section, which is a part of an underground river called Nam Aki. In front of the East gate, the mountains and the river embrace each other, creating a majestic scene that provokes the imagination of many people. In the rain season, the water of the river rises, covering the mouth of the cavern and making it impossible to visit.
The mouth of the cavern has a width of 20m and a height of 10m. From the view point of the people sitting on the boats, the cavern looks like an upside down giant bowl. The transparent water of the river resembles the surface of a mirror. As we go further into the heart of the cavern, the light becomes dimmer before it totally dies out. Along with the sound of the floating boat, we feel as if the sound of gongs is coming from afar. The inhabitants regard it as the music from the banquet of the God of Mountain.
Phong Nha has more than 20 caves with a huge 1500m-long main hall as well as many supplement halls which are hundreds meter long. The outer caves have 10m high ceilings and the inner caves have 25-50m high ceilings. From the 14th cave on, visitor can get to bigger and more dangerous caves where the stalactite-forming process is still occurring. Continuing their adventure on the boat for about 800m, visitors can get to a place called the Dried Cave where stalagmites and stalactites form a spectacular construction full of intrigue shapes.
It is hard and even nearly impossible to describe in words the majestic beauty of those caves and halls painted with the glistering color of underground water reflecting on huge blocks of stalagmites and stalactites. We feel speechless: excited and scared at the same time as if we are traveling inside a giant monster. At that moment, your mind will be filled with exhilarating or daunting imagination.